I’m Talented. Promise.

Day 3 of Seth Godin’s “Your Turn Challenge” – Tumblr

I’m looking for a needle in a haystack.  Correction: I’m looking for a single needle in a 20 square mile plot of haystacks.  I’m looking for the right job in Silicon Valley.

The companies that are in a position to offer aforementioned job (or jobs) would have me believe that it’s actually them who are searching for the needle.  I’ve become all too familiar with the cutesy, canned verbiage that invites the hopeful applicant to send in their info — “we love hearing from talented people like you”; “do cool things that matter”; “help us build the future of the web”; “come join us and change the world.”

I’m not so cynical that I don’t believe these inspiring invitations.  After all, these are the companies that have made, and will continue to make, a dent in the universe.  What the cynicism scoundrel on my right shoulder — or left if you’re a south paw — can’t grasp is how a tailored resume and clever cover letter actually gives me a fair shot at finding my needle.

To the contrary, the modern professional climate (particularly in Silicon Valley) is so competitive that it seems to mandate something out of the ordinary to land the position.  Something that pushes the envelope just a bit.  After all, isn’t that what built these companies to begin with?

How are the most innovative companies in the world supposed to convince me that the best way to apply for a job is to follow the same process my grandfather did to land a job as a building inspector after fighting in our Second World War?

So I find myself brainstorming better ways to gain the attention of the decision maker(s) that will ultimately determine my fate.  Show up in person and suggest I already have a meeting in place with the head recruiter?  (Risky.)  Create a business plan that proposes changes and improvements to an existing project?  (Presumptive.) Skip the resume scrub and send a direct email with a brief and artificially self-confident suggestion that “this” job is made for me?  (Unoriginal.)  Ultimately, these “hack-a-job strategies” — a term I loathe and can’t seem to escape whenever I make the mistake of wading through LinkedIn editorial content — feel inauthentic and and suggest a lack of faith in a company’s talent finding process…which can easily backfire.

Clearly, we need fundamental improvement in the job search — or job find? — process.  An evolution that feels consistent with the innovative and “outside of the box” DNA of the companies that are the most attractive to our best and brightest.  At present moment, it’s hard not to feel desperate for alternatives to throwing the best version of my PDF resume into the cloud.  There must be new ways to demonstrate our skills, to confirm our compatibility with challenging jobs and projects, to prove we’re talented.  Promise.

I’m Talented. Promise.

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